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pontoontodd

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pontoontodd last won the day on September 14 2016

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About pontoontodd

  • Rank
    Subaru Nut

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  • Gender
    Male
  • Location
    Loves Park, IL
  • Referral
    search engine, lifted subarus and other mods
  • Biography
    Mechanical engineer, off road racer, trail ride and pre run with Subarus.
  • Vehicles
    1999 Legacy Outback, 1996 Impreza

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  1. pontoontodd

    does lift and no sway bar damaging steering rack ?

    I could see the lift wearing some things out faster but not the rack and pinion gears. If you have the car off the ground can you move the end of the rack up and down? Mine was loose in the bushings and I replaced it to be safe. My advice if you're going through the work of removing it, find a good used one to put in, preferably one that doesn't have rusty lines on it. On that note, the first thing to try would be to make sure you can disconnect the lines above the crossmember on the passenger side. If you can't do that don't bother. Also start soaking the rack bolts and u-joint bolts with liquid wrench or some kind of penetrant now. I think driving on rough roads will wear it out much faster than normal driving regardless of your lift or swaybars. It has been in the car for 17 years, right?
  2. These are almost identical to what I built for the other two cars. They seem to hold up well, we've never bent or cracked one. They move the spindle about an inch forward and an inch out on each side for more wheel travel and better tire clearance.
  3. One arm fully welded, another one tack welded in the jig. Front suspension will be about the same as the first two sets. Going to make a few minor changes which should make things a little stronger. In the rear I need to take more measurements. I think I'm going to just get longer shafts and bodies for the shocks before I even put them on and try to get 13-14" of wheel travel. I really should replace the head gaskets in that car before I take it off road so that's probably a winter project.
  4. Since we ripped the front bumper off our friend's Impreza pulling him out of the swamp, I decided to weld the brackets to the front bumper of my Impreza. You can see the one spot weld is already cracked/rusted apart. We also messed with our CB radios a bit. We have four CBs and tried them in three different cars and seemed to have about 200' of range with any combination. Better than nothing but very disappointing. We have our cars mostly ready for the next off road trip, so we took apart the dual range trans to see what had failed. Not surprisingly the high range synchro / baulk ring was badly distorted. The snapring that holds the hub in place had slid out of the groove, which seems very shallow. Here you can see one of the spring clips that holds the pads had broken. I don't know if that was cause or effect. I'm not sure those clips are needed or even helpful since they would normally hold the selector ring in between gears. In the case of the low range you'd either want it in high or low, not in between. You can also see the hub fits on the smashed synchro ring, the hub was definitely sliding on the shaft. At a minimum I plan on cutting the groove in the shaft deeper and getting a different snapring. Also noticed the ring/flange on third gear that is probably supposed to keep you from shifting too far was broken. Anyone know where to get dual range synchro rings in the US? I've gotten them from a company in Australia. Other than that I made one control arm for the 2002 Outback.
  5. The tabs are for flat towing it with a tow bar. We may find out how strong it is soon. I plan on welding the front bumper and using that for recovery though.
  6. You would be amazed by the difference the 1.6 low range makes. It's more than 60% better. You get 60% more torque multiplication, which helps, but you're also running 60% higher RPM. Imagine doing a hill at 2500RPM vs 1500RPM, the engine is making much more torque. Perfect for what you're trying to do. Unfortunately it seems like every time I pushed it at all it would break or get stuck in low range. We've talked about rebuilding it and putting it in my friend's Forester with the stock engine and tires but even then we would be afraid it would get stuck in low range. I have seen people put oil pumps on them to cool the low range but I would worry about that failing and dumping all the oil out of the trans. Really for slow off roading you're better off with a Toyota or something else with a real low range, lockers, solid axles, bigger tires, etc.
  7. Did you ever look at the X-trail or other struts? I'm sure you could find something to give you more travel if you're willing to cut and weld. The other reasons we built our own struts are that the standard replacement struts don't have much damping, the seals blow out, and the bodies bend. If you're not driving hard that's not a problem.
  8. We got mud in the air filter in the Impreza on the last trip so I wanted to change the intake. I think the main problem is it was pulling air from right in front of the front tire and the plastic wheel well is long gone. Figured I'd just get it to pull air from a high spot in the engine compartment, that should keep most of the water and mud out. Also the intake after the filter is 3"+, the pipe before the filter was about 2.5". I had this 3" exhaust bend lying around so I made a flange and welded it on. Sanded a few of the ribs flush and bolted it on. Riveted a piece of sheet aluminum to cover the original intake hole. I also drilled out the drain hole to about 3/4", that always seemed to get plugged with mud. I wanted it a couple inches below the hood so it had plenty of airflow. We ran a strap around a tree and pulled the radiator support forward. It worked but I wound up ripping off part of the radiator support/tow bar mount. It looked like it may have been cracked about halfway through where it broke. I replaced it with 2" square. Have to get better washers for where it bolts to the tie down point but I think it will hold. Since the lower radiator mounts are gone or broken I made up this little sleeve to support the radiator with foam in between. I drove to the carwash to blast out the condenser and radiator while the bumper is off. Steering is much better now, car is running well. Have to put some weld on the bumper brackets and bolt that back on, try to find a tire leak, secure a fender a little better, and a few other little things. Cars are pretty much ready to go for the next UP trip later this month.
  9. The 95 Outback headlight assemblies (bottom) are one piece and hold up much better than the two piece Outback and Impreza (top) headlights. For some reason it seems like the adjusters don't rust in place either. It is not a perfect fit but with some sheet metal removal I got it to fit on my 96 Impreza. Wiring plugs into headlight bulb but I had to splice the running light wire. Could splice the turn signal wire in too. Got the radiator water neck TIG welded. Put the radiator back in, it's not sitting all the way down in this picture but you can see that there is now some clearance between it and the valve cover. I can slide my fingers between the hose and valve cover now. The valve cover was touching the radiator hose before. Since I had to drain the coolant to do that, I replaced the oil cooler gaskets and hoses and the valve cover gaskets. The engine had been leaking oil badly when it sat overnight and now doesn't leak. While I was doing that I discovered the driver's side engine mount had separated. This might be why the valve cover had rubbed through the radiator hose after over a year with no problems. This is the passenger side mount. That split in the rubber goes most of the way through. I might be able to rip it apart by hand. The part that bolts to the engine is plastic but seemed undamaged on both sides. I only found them for sale from Subaru so they were about $80 each, I think that's why I hadn't replaced them when we first did the swap. Here you can see there is a tab that holds that steel plate in place. I think all the rubber was worn off the old one, that plate just falls off. On the new mount it's difficult to remove that plate. The driver's side had separated completely and that tab is gone too. Also replaced the left rear caliper on the 99 Outback. We replaced the u-joint steering shaft in the Impreza, both u-joints were tight.
  10. pontoontodd

    Mid mount Brat racer

    That car should be a blast! You could definitely fit an H6. The EG33 is only an inch or two longer (25-50mm), the EZ30/36 is less than an inch longer than the EJ. It is probably much too late in the build for this, but can you lower it? What do you need, 50mm ground clearance?
  11. The front struts will be about the same, I am going to make a small change. Front control arms will be the same. In the rear I'm going to start with the coilover shocks I used for the a-arm front suspension, they'll give me 10-11" of travel. In the future I'll get longer bodies and shafts which should allow 13-14" of rear wheel travel.
  12. I have most of the parts for long travel suspension. I am just waiting on a few machined parts. I plan on putting smaller front brakes on it so I can use 15" alloy wheels. I will use the same wheels and tires (215/75/15 Hankook MT) as my 99 Outback. I want to make fabricated bumpers, 2" tall x 4" wide rectangular steel tubing to protect the lights. Also has to have skid plates before I take it off road. I'm afraid I might have to do the head gaskets before I take it off road too, the coolant boils over a little occasionally just driving it hard in town. Never runs hot on the gauge though. I'll also add a tablet mount for navigation and convert the high beams to HID (already have the kit). Eventually I might change it to a manual trans but I want to see how the automatic works (with a cooler) and I want to leave it mostly stock for now. I'll use it for trail riding, going to offroad parks, going on vacation. Earliest I'll get started on it would be August, I won't have the time or money until then. Considering the head gaskets, it will probably be a winter project. Same with the 6MT/R180 swap into the 99. Should probably do head gaskets on that one too.
  13. While I had the coolant drained out of the 99 Outback I decided to replace the oil cooler and valve cover gaskets since they seemed to fix the oil leak on the 2001 Outback. I got those replaced, they were very stiff and brittle. While doing that I realized that the driver's side engine mount is broken (rubber is separated). The passenger side is badly cracked. I ordered a pair of those from the dealer. I got the water neck on the radiator welded. We replaced the steering rack on the Forester since the one line was kinked and rusty. Also replaced his RF knuckle with one with bolt on wheel bearing as we couldn't fully clamp the ball joint with the bolt. Wheel bearing that was in the new knuckle didn't quite fit the CV splines, wound up putting a new bolt on wheel bearing in it, which was of course super easy. Finished editing the video from our May trip to Arkansas: https://youtu.be/2hZ0n65dPJk
  14. Before the UP trip the cable hood latch was acting up on my Impreza and Outback so I welded a strip of steel onto the latch so I can just open them directly. Seemed to work fairly well, sometimes you have to push back down on the lever to get it to latch, but no more worrying about snapping the plastic hood release off. Had also noticed three of the four wheels on the Outback had cracks in the inner bead so I replaced those. Yesterday B fixed the fender and corner light on his Forester. He tried to remove the steering rack bolts, one of them broke off and he drilled and tapped it, another one was probably going to break so he threaded it back in for now. We will probably replace the whole rack or at least the one line soon. His RF balljoint is loose in the spindle too, we put in a different bolt with a 17mm hex and still weren't able to tighten it enough to get the ball joint tight. We'll put a knuckle with bolt on wheel bearing on that corner probably next weekend. I adjusted the parking brake on the Outback since I drove with it on last weekend. Checked all the wheel bearings and greased the struts. C straightened out and screwed down the left front fender. The lower radiator hose hadn't rubbed through, this time it split open. I think this is an old one I've been carrying around as a spare for a long time, maybe even the original one from the car or the six cylinder donor. Ordered a new one for 99 Outback with 2.5 and one for 2002 Outback with 3.0, see which one fits better. We pulled out the radiator and I cut a v notch in it so I can get that welded at a lower angle. Here you can see how close it was to the timing chain cover and the bolts I cut off. V notch cut and bent down, a little hard to see in this picture but moved the water neck down about 1/2". While the coolant is out I ordered some gaskets and plan to seal up this engine like I did the 2001. I replaced the RR strut on my blue Impreza since it was leaking and had almost no damping. B replaced the LR CV axle. When he did that he noticed the inner CV had worn a big notch in the exhaust. B fitted a piece of steel over that and I welded it in place so at least it's not cooking the CV. I hammered and ground the wheel wells where the tires were rubbing. I wired the cooling fan to one of the terminals on one of the AC relays in the fusebox so it's on with the ignition. Has an inline fuse near the fusebox. I checked the wiring at the RF headlight which seemed wrong at first but after testing and blowing out a headlight fuse seemed the same as the 95 Outback headlight. We fitted one to C's Impreza with some sheet metal trimming and hammering, should hold up better than the two piece headlight/corner lights.
  15. Our friend M wanted to have an off road bachelor party so we took ten guys and five Subarus to the UP. We all met up at my house around noon Friday. C showed up early, his girlfriend drove his blue Outback and he flat towed his black Impreza OBS with his pickup. We went to a grocery store to buy food for the trip – bagels, strudel, bread, PB&J, pizzas, dogs and burgers, and taco ingredients. We left around 1PM and all drove to the cabin without any issues and cooked the pizzas. The next morning we cooked pancakes and packed up and left around 7AM. Headed across 2 to the railroad grade into Watersmeet, hit the mini whoop section on the way into town. Shortly after going through Watersmeet the blue Outback died and we eventually towed it back to Nordine's in Watersmeet. Eventually figured out the timing belt had skipped some teeth. C had brought a different tensioner thinking the one on there might be weak. Got it running again and headed towards the Baraga plains. After a couple more hours we finally got into an area with a lot of trails and the blue Outback died again. We got it running but not well, it probably had some bent valves. Pulled it to civilization with the 50' strap. Talked to a kid in the family that owns a repair shop of sorts, his mom wouldn't let him buy it. Found a gas station that would let us leave it there for a month, C is coming back up over the fourth of July with his girlfriend's family and will tow it back then. At some point early in the day A put the Impreza in a ditch and got it up on two wheels which bent one of the front wheels. Drove on some main roads to the Baraga plains. Drove around a sandy stunt area and got all the cars but the blue Impreza stuck at one point. Went to the sandy pipeline grade and hit that which cheered everyone up. Switched cars at the halfway point. Headed east on 28 to get close to halfway to where we were staying Sunday night. Headed south off the highway and did some more trail riding. Saw a couple of painted turtles at the start of one of the first trails. I let M and C lead the way and they decided to keep going straight where the road turned and we were on an old narrow somewhat overgrown trail. They started driving through the woods to a clearcut at one point and when we got out to look around and found we had gotten off the main trail a bit. Shockingly it went through to the dirt road we had turned off on. We found some other dead ends on the way to the campground. At one of them we noticed coolant coming out of the bottom of the Outback. One of the valve cover bolts had rubbed through the lower radiator hose. Cut the bolt and boss off flush with the recip saw and put the spare radiator hose on. The campground at Pike lake has been closed for almost a decade but the campground at Bass lake was open so we camped there. The next morning I took the overflow cap off the Outback which caused it to start leaking coolant again. A different valve cover bolt had rubbed through the hose. I was able to cut one of the hoses back, cut that bolt and boss off flush, and put it back together. In the morning we found some dead ends and motorcycle only trails. From there we headed east to Gwinn and got fuel. There was a nice little jump along the powerline on the south side of town that we took turns hitting. Looped around the south side of town on a whooped out sandy trail. Went south between Mehl Lake and Little Lake and everything seemed to be private. Went north across the highway on some sandy trails that led up to the snowmobile trail, which was sandy/dusty and whooped out. I was driving the Outback in the back and could see the Impreza bouncing around quite a bit, the right rear has no damping. Followed 35 for a bit and went down some other dead end trails. Eventually worked our way back up to the snowmobile trail but there were gates in a few places so we wound up taking 94 to Munising and got gas. At this point we decided to just go to the lodge we rented and make dinner. S cooked tacos. C wanted to do some trail riding since there are a ton of trails around that lodge. Figured we'd loop around for an hour or so, try to find an unpaved route to the Driggs River road. We went west and then turned off on Sunset Landing road. Fun road with dips/jumps and sandy turns. Came to a four way intersection. The widest straight route went right into a big pool of standing water. There was a trail right alongside it that was narrower but a decent dirt road with just a tree line in between. I drove down the dirt road and thought Cory saw me. They both joined up after the tree line. C didn't see me and had gotten overconfident from the standing water we'd driven through on sandy/rocky trails in the afternoon. He drove right into it and got stuck in the middle of the pond. It was about 50' wide and 200' long and he was stuck right in the middle. In a couple minutes there was water on the seats and they were sitting on the roof of the car. I couldn't get close to them on that trail since I started to sink in before even getting to the standing water. Water was only about a foot deep but the bottom was very soft. I got close on the side trail and we winched them over to the treeline. We were able to pull the car up the bank with the snatch strap, ripping off the front bumper in the process. It was held onto the brackets by four spot welds on each side. Pulled it back to the lodge and C told B he joined the swamp club. We drained the water out of the oil pan, pulled the plugs and cranked more out, and it sort of ran. Relays were clicking on and off, battery seemed weak, we're thinking the ECU being submerged might have caused problems. The next morning we drove back to the crime scene so we could all check it out in the daylight. At this point we struggled to get C's car running right, swapped the batteries between the Imprezas. It kept acting up for the next hour or two, hotwired the fuel pump, eventually just decided to flat tow it back home with the Outback. Outback was running hot above 70mph, especially up grades. Blasted out the radiator at a coin op car wash which didn't help much. Radiator has at least some mud on the backside of it. Had to run the heat about 1/3 of the time on the way home. Blue Impreza's hood didn't get latched properly after we got gas in Menominee so that blew open and smashed the windshield. Other than that we got home alright. Leaning towards just getting a RR strut, windshield, and a couple other things for the Impreza. Tempted to get Forester struts for it and pull the swaybars. Also tempted to just switch to the alloy wheels and snow tires and keep the steels for backup rather than buying more steel wheels that are just going to bend. Thoughts on that? The next day the Outback was leaking coolant again. Need to change the water neck on the radiator and flush the mud out of it.
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